The Matrix

The Matrix (1999)
A depiction of the 1999 film The Matrix, according to which reality is but a computer program running on the mind, and humans are types of power cells, grown as batteries to run the matrix or computer coded machine world.
In famous films, The Matrix is a 1999 philosophically-loaded science fiction action film, oft-cited as “the most philosophical film ever made”, written by the American siblings Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski—formerly Larry Wachowski (prior to 2012)—which, in conjunction with its sequel, The Matrix Reloaded (2003), cover a significant number of hmolscience-centric topics, including: reality, choice, causality (or cause and effect), purpose, (or sense of purpose), power (or humans as batteries), action and reaction, impulse, particularity sexual impulse, neuroscience—mind as but brain electrochemistry—truth vs. ignorance, to name a few, anchored in the overt paradigm views of Jean Baudrillard (1981), on people as simulated hydrocarbon-based cultural molecules (see: human molecule), and Kevin Kelly (1994), on machine philosophy, mixed together with evolutionary psychology stitching, along with the furtive or clandestine philosophies of, supposedly, Socrates (Socratic method), Plato (allegory of the cave), Rene Descartes (add), George Berkeley (on reality), Friedrich Nietzsche (nihilism and or existentialism), Karl Marx (historical materialism), among, it seems, a long list of alleged others.

Philosophy behind
The subject of the philosophy behind The Matrix, is supposedly centered around a modern wake up to reality dialogue on the "big questions", as American philosopher William Irwin reports: [1]

“The Wachowski brothers, college dropout comic-book artists intrigued by the big questions, readily acknowledge that they have woven many philosophical themes and allusions into the fabric of the film.”

The autogenerated search return of “The Matrix”, per query “philosophy behind”, is one of the top four Google search return autogenerates, along with: The Declaration of Independence (1776), Fight Club (1999), and communism.

In 2004, then Larry Wachowski, in interview with integral philosopher Ken Wilber, remained fairly tight-lipped as to the underlying meanings in the film, for the sake of individual viewer interpretation, whatever that means, a few comments aside: [6]

“Larry is just about as philosophically/spiritually well read as anyone you're likely to find.”

The problem here, is that what exactly Larry read is kept secret. At about 11-min into the interview, Larry comments that he had his father, who’s “read a lot” and “more of Marxist” then he is, were half-way into Wilber’s 1995 Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality, which of course is post-Matrix reading, and was speculating on his relation to Georg Hegel (later mentioned at 24:44-27:40); the name of Friedrich Nietzsche is thrown up; Larry mentions something about some type of Hegel-themed omega point (not Pierre Teilhard themed) and the big bang; comments (13:29) about how Arthur Schopenhauer (also mentioned at 27:45) is “dead on” somewhere in his writing; though, to note, it is not at all clear if this commentary is about Wilber’s book or in some way relevant to The Matrix? Larry comments (7:00) how when he first met, via talked on the phone for three hours, Wilber, how he felt some type of instant connection, fellowship, or validation to his belief system, or something along these lines. At 26:42, Larry interjects into Wilber’s discussion about getting out of the evolutionary spiral mode of thinking and finding the origin, with the following:

“Right, but the path there is the development of an ever reexpanding path; when you start off, you’re going from space matter [or base matter?], atoms, molecules, cells, living organisms, up to the triune brain, and that is a progression, a mental progression, which suggests a value statement there, leading towards this entity, leading towards Hegel … and on to awareness.”


In 2003, in the famous causality or action and reaction scene, we see some honed logic:

Merovingian: It is the way of all things. You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect.

Morpheus: Everything begins with choice.

Merovingian: No. Wrong. Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without. Look there, at that woman. My god, just look at her. Affecting everyone around her, so obvious, so bourgeois, so boring. But wait… Watch – you see, I have sent her dessert, a very special dessert. I wrote it myself. It starts so simply, each line of the program creating a new effect, just like poetry. First, a rush… heat… her heart flutters. You can see it, Neo, yes? She does not understand why – is it the wine? No. What is it then, what is the reason? And soon it does not matter, soon the why and the reason are gone, and all that matters is the feeling itself. This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control. Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the ‘why’. ‘Why’ is what separates us from them, you from me. ‘Why’ is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless.


Truth | Ignorance
The general motto of The Matrix series, as summarized by American philosopher William Irwin, is the following: [1]

“Is ignorance bliss, or is the truth worth knowing, no matter what?”

The red pill, the doorway to truth, or the blue pill, internal ignorance soaked bliss, are the two alternative “choices” of so-called reality offered to the Neo, the main character, in the opening scene.

The film, particularly in respect to truth and choice, has a very Goethe-feel to it, which likely would have come through via Schopenhauer, mentioned by Larry (Lana) Wachowski (2004) above, Goethe's sole direct philosophical protege; although, to clarify, there does not seem to be actual citation or crediting of Goethean philosophy as the underlying theme to the film, in the sense of his 1809 Elective Affinities being entirely about the nature of “choice”, in a physico-chemical sense—the original German title Die Wahlverwandtschaften meaning the “choice of one’s elections to attraction, repel, or embrace” (see: title decoding)—in a world predetermined by the nature of predominately external forces (see: Goethe timeline, 1796) acting on the internal forces of humans defined as motile evolving chemicals. The following social Newton quote, by Goethe, gives wind of the connection between the two:

“Few people have the imagination for reality.”
Goethe (Ѻ)


Baudrillard | Kelly | Evolutionary psychology
The three overt required reading books, which had to be read by the actors before the script was opened, so that they would be able to explain, when asked, the meaning of the various aspects of the film, were: Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation, Kevin Kelly’s 1994 book Out of Control, and Dylan Evans’ 1999 Introducing Evolutionary Psychology, an overview on evolutionary psychology. The following is a representative Baudrillard quote: [2]

“Our only culture in the end is that of hydrocarbons, that of refining, cracking, breaking cultural molecules and of their recombination into synthesized products.”

Baudrillard theorizes on concepts such as energy, negentropy, cybernetics, and information, viewed in terms of societies as molar groups, contracting and expanding.
Intelligence column (periodic table)Habitable zone
A portion of the hmolscience periodic table, showing the so-called "intelligence" or mind column (#14) of the periodic table; the premise of The Matrix, being that, in the future, machine intelligence (Si-based) will out pace human intelligence (C-based), and thereafter appropriate humans as battery like types of "energy slaves", in the Buckminster Fuller (1944) terminology, to power their operations.

Power source problem
See main: Machine evolution scenario
One of the contentious or rather weaker, albeit difficult to decipher why, links in the film is that premise that machines, supposedly, silicon based in intelligence (see: hmolscience periodic table), have taken over the planet earth, as the leading species of animation, and enslaved humans to use as a power source:

“The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120 V battery and over 25,000 btu's of heat. Combined with a form of fusion, the machines had found all the energy they'd ever need.”
— Morpheus (1999), The Matrix

The gist of this line of reasoning seems to come from American futurist Kevin Kelly's 1994 Out of Control: the New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, noted for his use of entropy and extropy in theorizing about the impact of machines and technology in the future, which touches on topics of cybernetics, emergence, self-organization, complexity, and chaos theory, devoting about ten pages discussing entropy in the context of evolution and technology, the aim of which is to lay out the basic principals defining 'artificial evolution', a phenomenon argued to become commonplace in the next century. Kelly defines extropy as "life force" and life as an "information process making new order". [4]

The general problem with this human battery power premise, is the underlying assumption that earth, in the aftermath of the some type of future nuclear war, being now covered in some type of sunlight-reflecting or blocking cloud or dust cover, is now, in effect, out of the circumstellar habitable zone, according to which heat from the sun is no longer the factor or hot body driving force operator in the animation of atomic geometries on the surface of the earth, according to which, thereby, the machines, in the face of this scenario, acquire humans as power sources to fill the gap.

In short, with the sun as the power source is taken out of the equation, the premise that silicon-based intelligence (machine or computer) would want or have some type of desire to further its continuation, grow, evolve, or metamorphosize into the future, contradicts the premise that metamorphic form change only accrues via a photon mediated, induced movement, Bohr model electron orbital jumping stability seeking, type of floating magnets form change, operating on the periodic table; namely, without photon mediation, progressive form change would cease.

The Architect scene of part two is one of the intellectual apexes of the series (add discussion), at least in respect to pleasant amount of wordiness (vis-a-vis, ergo, concordantly, etc.), if not content; very well-scripted, to say the least—so much so that the 2003 MTV Will Ferrell parody (Ѻ) of it is humorous. [5]

The following are noted and or related quotes:

“What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel; what you can taste; what you can smell and see; then real is simply electrical signals being interpreted by your brain.”
— Morpheus (1999), The Matrix [3]

“To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.”
— Mouse (1999), The Matrix
Neo (code view)
A Neo as "code view" depiction of reality, according to which everything is but binary digits (bits), and or other computer symbols (e.g. binary algebra), interpreted by the brain; which in some sense, has resemblance to the "everything is but atoms and voids" atomic theory motto of Leucippus.

“The way I see things, is similar to the way Neo sees the code in the Matrix; but in my case, all I see is atoms (instead of code), which, according to the nebular hypothesis, geometrically have been changing form, since the solar system first formed 4.6 billion years ago; whereby, according to the heat engine view of things, the sun is the hot body, any given region of earth (such as a ecosystem, a city, a river, etc.) is the working body, and the region of space on the dark side of the earth is the cold body. Therefore, in order to study this “working body” objectively, we have to strip away all previous conceptions [see: terminology reform], and start our study from Helmholtz’s 1882 “On the Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes”, wherein he showed how entropy applies to chemical reactions occurring in the “working body”; according to which, in the modern post-Lewis thermodynamics view of things, means that these atomic geometries go from one state [initial state] of arrangement to a second state [final state] of arrangement to a third state of arrangement, progressively each day (one heat cycle), and that each geometric arrangement is quantified by a measurable value of Gibbs free energy. The rest is simply puzzle solving and filling in the details.”
Libb Thims (2011), comment #16 (Ѻ) to Jeff Tuhtan on why a fish [see: fish molecule] is a [type] of molecule (Nov 9)

1. Irwin, Irwin. (2002). The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (truth, pg. 1). Open Court.
2. (a) Baudrillard, Jean. (1981). Simulacra and Simulation (cultural molecules, pg. 64). Editions Galilee.
(b) Simulacra and Simulation – Wikipedia.
3. Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (“What is real?” quote, pg. xix). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
4. (a) Kelly, Kevin. (1994). Out of Control: the New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (extropy, pg. 106; entropy, pgs. 79, 405-06, 413, 452). Addison Wesley.
(b) Out of Control – Wikipedia.
5. MTV Movie Awards Reloaded – Wikipedia.
6. Wilber, Ken. (2004). “The Many Meanings of the Matrix: Interview with Larry Wachowski” (Ѻ) (part 1, part 2, part 3) , Jul 19.

Further reading
● Irwin, Irwin. (2005). More Matrix and Philosophy: revolutions and Reloaded Decoded. Open Court.
● Grau, Christopher. (2005). Philosophers Explore the Matrix. Oxford University Press.

See also
Elective Affinities: Illustrated, Annotated, and Decoded
Francis Ford Coppola
Human thermodynamic films

External links
The Matrix – Wikipedia.
Matrix Wiki –

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